I love couponing. I’ve waxed poetic about the awesomeness of coupons on this site more than once. I’ve even been known to send friends links to really cool coupons involving free chocolate. However, there is a right way to use coupons and a wrong way. You don’t want to be the crazy coupon lady irritating everyone in line behind you and the cashier. Thus, today features a new stabby post all about the crazy coupon lady I encountered this weekend.
Signs of the Crazy Coupon Lady
I’m impressed by the women who buy $400 worth of stuff for thirteen cents. I marvel at their achievement. However, these women don’t truly qualify as Crazy Coupon Ladies because they’re organized. They know how to move through the line quickly and when to drop an argument. Here are 5 signs that you’ve crossed the line from Coupon Marvel to
Crazy Coupon Lady:
- Your coupons are a jumbled mess that takes five minutes to sort out at the register.
- Your coupon wad blocks the infrared sensor that prevents the conveyor belt from moving, but don’t realize it and wonder aloud (and rudely) why the cashier is stretching to reach all of your groceries.
- You try to return an expired item from your stockpile.
- You argue with the cashier who explains that she can’t accept expired food as a return.
- You try to use coupons for things you didn’t buy or for a different brand, and then rudely ask the cashier why she can’t take them.
Don’t Be the Crazy Coupon Lady
So what can we learn from the crazy coupon lady I encountered this weekend?
Keep Your Coupons Organized
It’s not enough to have some sort of organization method before you get to the store. You must also have an organization method while in the store. They should not be wadded up in your wallet and then dumped out for you to sort while the cashier rings you up. I keep the coupons I might use in one pocket of my purse and then move them next to my wallet once I have the appropriate item in my cart. That way they’re in a neat stack when I reach the register.
As a subsection of this item: don’t rest your purse, wallet, or messy wad of unsorted coupons on the conveyor belt in front of the infrared beam. If you do, don’t accuse the cashier of trying to rush you through when she has to reach to the very back of the stationary belt to reach your items.
Rotate Your Stockpile
This is an actual transcript of the conversation that transpired between the Crazy Coupon Lady and the Beleaguered Cashier about a bottle of expired salad dressing:
CCL: I need to return this.
BC: Do you have a receipt?
CCL: No, I can’t find it.
BC: It’s expired. I can’t take back expired food.
CCL: I didn’t see it was expired until after I ate it and had a reaction.
BC: I’m sorry. I can’t take back expired food without a receipt.
CCL: But I had a reaction to it.
BC: I’m sorry. I can’t take back expired food.
CCL: It was expired when I bought it and I didn’t notice until I had a reaction.
BC: (grumble) I’m sorry. I can’t take back expired food. Maybe if you had a receipt it would be different.
CCL: I’ll take it to another store. They’ll let me return it without a problem.
During this exchange, I could read the cashier’s mind: “CCL didn’t buy this expired. It was in her stockpile and expired before she got to it.” If you’re going to stockpile, make sure you eat or donate food before it expires. Don’t let it sit in your cupboard and then try to return it without a receipt after it expires. Also, don’t be annoyed with the cashier for observing the store policy about expired food. I have had to return soft cheese that had gone bad (before it expired), but I discovered it within days of my visit and still had the receipt. The store simply exchanged it for a good one.
Make Sure the Right Items Are In Your Cart
Finally, make sure that you actually match up the coupons with the right products. It can be tricky sometimes – the coupon might be for lipstick and you buy mascara in the same brand. That’s understandable and the cashier might push it through or you can dig into your coupon box to retrieve the right one.
Don’t, however, try to use a coupon for the wrong brand and then rudely ask the cashier why she won’t accept it. Pepperidge Farm is not going to reimburse the store for a coupon used to buy a Pillsbury product. I don’t care if they’re both “Toaster Toasts.” Buy the right brand or don’t use the coupon.
I will say this: the CCL so irritated the cashier that I got great service by simply being polite and having my coupons neatly organized. Of course, I had extra time while waiting for the CCL to finish arguing and move out of the way. Have you encountered a CCL? What was your reaction?